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June 7, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Stone on Marshawn Lynch’s silent off-season

There’s been a lot said about Marshawn Lynch of late. Skipping the White House visit. His role in what offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said this week could be a “tailback-by-committee for Seattle this season. His post-2014 future with the team.

But as is usually the case, we haven’t heard anything from Lynch.

Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone puts it all into perspective in his column for the Sunday paper.

Writes Stone in part:

Yet a pertinent question sits out there, brought out into the public debate with increasing frequency: How much longer will Marshawn Lynch be the linchpin of the Seahawks’ attack?

The issue was raised in that same Town Hall meeting, when a fan asked offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell about Christine Michael’s role in 2014.

“We’re going to be running back by committee,’’ Bevell told the audience at CenturyLink Field and online, adding later, “We really like what Christine Michael is doing right now.”

Any job-sharing at running back would be a significant departure for the Seahawks, who have ridden Lynch as virtually the sole feature back for three seasons. He has averaged 300 carries per season in that span, and last year was one of just two NFL backs, along with LeSean McCoy, to exceed that number.

The toll didn’t seem to affect Lynch. It never does. In fact, he appeared to pick up steam as the season progressed. In the Seahawks’ first two playoff games, he ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns against New Orleans, and 109 yards and a score against San Francisco. In the Super Bowl, Lynch carried 15 times for 39 yards and a touchdown in a game so quickly lopsided that his typical output was scarcely needed. Lynch’s durability has been nothing short of remarkable.

But Lynch turned 28 in April, an age at which the caution flag tends to go up for NFL running backs, especially ones who run with as much reckless disregard for their own well-being as Lynch does. The decline, when it comes, can be abrupt and irreversible — remember Shaun Alexander?

My hunch is that Lynch still has some quality miles left in him. And that when it comes to the heat of the season — rather than the speculative nature of the offseason — Lynch will still be the Seahawks’ workhorse, and their go-to offensive weapon.

I have the same hunch. Michael, I’d imagine, plays more this year — he can’t really play much less. But with what the Seahawks have on the line this season, I think they get what they need out of Lynch first. As I wrote a couple of days ago, there are lots of ways to define “committee” and we haven’t really heard or seen how the Seahawks plan to make that work yet. There may be a committee this season, but I’d still expect Lynch to be the Chairman of the Board.


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